Sun and your child's skin - what the experts say

Protection factors

Protection against UVB and UVA rays

The SFP UVB factor (Sunburn Protection Factor) is indicated on each sun protection product. This is an indicator of how effective it is at protecting your skin against UVB rays. The SPF, calculated in laboratory tests, is the ratio of the intensity required to provoke redness on a given area with cream to the intensity required to provoke redness on a given area without cream. In practical terms, a cream with an SPF of 10 lets through a 10th of all UV rays responsible for sunburn, giving 90% protection. An SPF 50 cream lets through a 50th of all UV rays, thus ensuring 98% protection.

Based on this factor, sun products are classified into 4 categories:
 

 SPF factor
Low protection6 - 10
Medium protection15 - 20 - 30
High protection50
Very high protection50 +



Note:
 

  • The SPF is not a measure of sun exposure time. So using SPF 50 does not mean that you can stay in the sun 50 times longer than without protection.
  • SPFs are only tested for a maximum of 2 hours. The cream should therefore be reapplied on a regular basis.


It is also vital that sun protection products protect against UVA rays: their UVA factor should be at least equal to one third of the their UVB factor.

Choosing the protection factor

The UV ray intensity varies considerably, depending on season and geographical location.

You can use the UV index in the table below to help you modify your behavior and work out what kind of sun protection you should use on your child based on your situation:
 

CountryJanFebMarchAprilMayJuneJulyAugustSeptOctNovDec

South Africa

(Cap Town)

9975323467910

Germany

(Berlin)

112457753111

Argentina

(Buenos Aires)

9974322457910

Australia

(Melbourne)

886422235689

Australia

(Sydney)

9975323467910

Brazil (Rio de Janeiro)

12119755579101212

Canada

(Vancouver)

113467764211

Cuba

(Havana)

689101011121110865

Spain (Palma de Mallorca)

234689986421

United States

(Los Angeles)

34689101097532

United States

(New York)

234678986321

France

(Paris)

113467764210

Greece

(Heraklion)

3458991097432

Kenya

(Nairobi)

121313121110111112121211

Madagascar

(Antananarivo)

1212119766811111212

Vietnam

(Hanoi)

6810111111121210866




Once you have found your UV index, refer to the table below:
 

UV IndexStrenght of the sunExposure time before sunburn for fair skin
2 or lessLow> 1 hour
3 to 5Moderate40 minutes
6 to 7High30 minutes
8 to 10Very high20 minutes
11 +Extreme15 minutes



- Between 0 and 2: you can enjoy open-air activities in complete safety!

- Between 3 and 7: seek out some shade in the middle of the day. Put a shirt or T-shirt and a hat on your baby and apply sunscreen every couple of hours.

- > to 8: avoid being out in the open air during the warmer hours and always look for shade. The shirt, sunscreen and hat are compulsory!

However, for children, irrespective of their skin type, always use protection with an SPF of at least 50 – particularly when they first go out in the sun.

To find out more about choosing a product that is suitable for your child, consult our tip sheet.

 

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